Again, another small break, this time due to getting a virus infection. Now recovered, so back to photographs!
This year I was suppose to take the class pictures of my son’s school.
The compulsory invitation (wife is part of the parents council) came early in the fall, when it was already too cold for having the kids outside, to use natural light, and be able to identify them (not the jacket + hat combo). One option was to rent some strobes and softboxes, which would cost quite some money to the school, and the other option was to wait for spring and have the kids outside. For obvious reasons, the “wait for spring” option was the chosen one.
So the project got put on hold, but spring never really came!! We tried to schedule it a couple of times and had it cancelled the day before due to weather, then getting sick, and finally last week we made it!
Since they are 12 classes, and sun shines in front of the school after mid morning, we had them split in two days. The first one was quite sunny and sun (and the kids would leave for their morning break). Some more strict border patrol would have made me notice a sign behind the kids before the first class came around, not after photographing two classes (I know, shame on me – a lot of photoshop action to make this sign vanish). At night I already noticed I would have to zoom in a bit more. The second day, despite the forecast, ended up being a cloudy morning, with drops falling around. We decided to go ahead anyway.
Some things to look at. First, it would have been impossible without my wife assisting me. While I was at the camera, on one side of the patio, she was positioning the kids at the other side of it, making sure they don’t cover themselves. It all went fine, but there’s always some kids that move and hide themselves, or someone else. I took several images, hoping for positioning and eyes. Even used the trick of “close your eyes and open them when I count to three!!”. Still had to photoshop some opened eyes
Definitely the worst part are the camera clowns. In one of the cases, the kid made faces the whole time, the one time this kid has a “normal” face, all others look terrible (already tired of standing and so on). Sorry for this kid’s parents, but they’ll have a picture of their kid making a weird face (they probably already know it).
The school front is a big glass windows. Across the patio there are trees, being illuminated by the morning sun, meaning they were reflecting quite a lot in the glass windows and conflicting with the kids in the image. So I would need to mute those reflections. It’s got even more evident in the second day, when there was no shiny trees and the reflections are quite good.
Usual post processing in Lightroom, darkening and reducing highlights for the tree reflections, jumping to photoshop for eyes and removing some rain drops that crossed in front of the kids, some Nik Color Efex Pro (now free) to finish it and a little frame with school logo, class and teachers name. I hope those kids have a good memory of this school year, and hopefully with a nice class photo!!
In summary: get someone to assist, use different focal lengths, strict border patrol on what’s in the image, specially behind the kids, make several pictures, so you have eyes and expressions evolving with time, don’t take picture with rain drops and get the kids relaxed.